Sadia read these words and repeated them over and over again in her mind. She was getting ready to write an instructive story about Ramazan and our daily lives.

Initially, she had resolved to write about how one should ideally spend Ramazan. But after reading the aforementioned words, she decided against the idea. Instead, she decided to share the images of the various ways in which different people spend Ramazan. Her intention was that this way, the readers could reflect on what people do during Ramazan and, if possible, correct themselves on their own.

Here is a collection of her impression of some people she has observed in real life and what they do during Ramazan.

Example one: Sheraz does not really believe in fasting. He considers it too much of an ordeal that conflicts with many things in his daily routine. He does not understand that fasting improves one as a person. He fails to realise that fasting is a religious obligation that helps a person to develop patience, discipline, self-control, focus, determination, consistency, etc.

Example two: Iqra takes care to not miss a single fast during the holy month. But, while fasting, she does not stop herself from engaging in telling lies, back-biting, fighting with family and friends and the use of abusive language.

“Literature is merely a mirror to the society; and the job of the writer is not necessarily to preach, but to show the mirror to his/her readers through his/her writing.”

According to her logic, these things do not spoil a person’s fast as long as no eating or drinking takes place before Iftar time. What she doesn’t realise is that abstaining from food and drinks is not the only purpose of Ramazan. One has to avoid all bad habits and negative things as well, to achieve the true spirit of a fast.

Example three: Raheel has just taken his final exams. His school is off for summer vacation. After eating at Sehr time, he sleeps all day up to almost Iftar time. He does not offer any prayers during the day because he is sleeping and stays up all night. Thus he is able to avoid the discomfort usually felt while fasting by sleeping away the day.

He too isn’t reaping the full rewards of a fast as he skips anything that can test his patience and devotion.

Example four: Taimoor goes to extremes in being pious during Ramazan. He prays and reads books on religion all day. While doing that, he ignores his studies and avoids doing any chores.

He misses the point that everything needs to be done in moderation when one fasts. Totally avoiding the worldly responsibilities during fasting is not the aim of this religious practice.

Example five: Amber believes that there is always a way to balance things during fasting. In other words, during Ramazan, one can follow a normal routine life while meeting the requirements of fasting.

She has the following words of wisdom to offer: “While fasting, when faced with a situation in which you feel like you are about to lie, fight or abuse someone, or do anything that goes against the spirit of fasting, then it is better to walk away from the situation by saying, ‘I am fasting. I will deal with it later’.”

She also adds, “The key to fasting in a proper way is to be flexible and adjust your daily routine so that you can balance everything.”

For fasting during Ramazan, Amber adjusts her study time, sleeping time and time for doing household chores. This helps her to get everything done while striking a balance between things.

Conclusion: After writing about the aforementioned real life examples, Sadia was content that she had achieved what she had set out to do. She was happy that she had also made some ground in following another rule of creative writing which is, “Show, not tell your story”.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 18th, 2019